A preview to a film project I have been working on for the past 2 years with my friend Shawn. When I was painting in Miami a year ago I ended up meeting a young artist when I was painting on a middle school in a low-income neighborhood in Wynwood Miami to raise money for the schools arts and music program.
Shawn lived across the street from the school. He approached me one day to show me his drawings and ask if he could paint with me? I said yea grab a brush.
He had never painted before but when we were done I had him sign the wall with me for his help. While we were painting there was a shooting on the street where we were painting down the street and a young kid Shawn’s age was killed in the gunfire. It really made an impact on me because I was watching Shawn develop rapidly into wanting to paint more and eventually get away from the violence of his Wynwood neighborhood.
During art Basel everyone sees one side of Wynwood but after it’s over it goes back to the way it always is. Which isn’t safe and the kids and families there have to live with that. Something the wealthy visitors don’t see when they visit for Miami art Basel.
After we painted the first wall, Shawn and I got another wall to paint in Wynwood. While we were painting Shawn’s good friend was shot in the head in a drive by shooting. His friend survived but was in the hospital and had to wear a helmet. Shawn painted a helmet with a b on it and continued to paint and send his friend pictures of our wall until we finished the piece.
That year police killed another graffiti writer so we did a small rip part of the mural with a large tombstone. It read RIP MIKE BROWN, DEMZ & REEFA, (two graffiti writers killed by cops in the neighborhood) I asked Shawn if he had anyone else we should put on there. He said “Trayvon Martin, he was my cousin.”